Nikon Coolpix L100 Mega Zoom Camera Review

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Body Design and Feel

The L100 measures 4.3 x 2.3 x 3.0 inches, and weighs approximately 12.5 ounces. When compared to today’s tiny point-and-shoot cameras, the L100 is a bit chubby, but it's definitely not cumbersome to carry around for a full day. Overall, the camera fits very nicely in the hand and offers well-placed areas for your fingers.

A large lens dominates the front of the Nikon Coolpix L100, even when it is retracted into its housing. When you power the camera on, the lens extends assuming you remembered to remove the lens cap beforehand. If you forget, the camera will display a message reminding you to remove the lens cap and then power the camera off and on again.

When the camera is powered on, the lens remains pretty consistent since most of the zooming appears to take place inside of the lens. You will notice some external movements, however. The lens itself is rated at f3.5 at the wide end and f5.4 on the telephoto end.

The L100’s large grip also extends outwards from the main part of the camera. The grip’s size is largely due to the fact that it houses four AA batteries. This grip is very comfortable and easy to hold largely because the sizeable grip provides ample room for your hands.

Between the grip and the lens, you’ll notice the L100’s AF-assist illuminator. The flash sits above the lens. One interesting thing to note is that the flash will not pop up automatically, so if you want the option of using the flash, you must pull it up before capturing a photo. Within the flash control settings, there is an auto mode. When selected, the camera will only fire the popped up flash when it’s needed. A built-in microphone appears at the upper-right corner of the camera near the flash and the lens.

On the top of the camera, you’ll notice the shutter button which is surrounded by zoom controls as well as the power button. During playback, the zoom controls can be used to access a thumbnail view as well as to zoom in on an area of an image. The Telephoto end of the controls also provides access to the camera’s built-in help displays when they are available.

The left side of the camera houses the L100’s built-in speaker as well as the cable connector (A/V out, USB) and DC input connector (for an AC adapter that’s sold separately).

The majority of the L100’s controls are located on the back of the camera next to the 3-inch LCD. This LCD provides the only way to frame your images since the L100 doesn’t have an optical viewfinder. The screen’s 230,000-dot display is decent, but it’s certainly not as nice as some of the high-resolution displays we’ve seen on much higher priced DSLRs.

Working our way from top to bottom, you’ll notice a flash lamp followed by a shooting mode button and playback button. The shooting mode button provides access to the camera’s shooting modes: easy auto, 14 predefined automatic modes, sport continuous modes, movie mode, and full auto mode.

Below these controls, there’s a four-way multi selector button with an OK button in the middle. In addition to helping you navigate the L100’s menu system, the four-way multi selector button provides easy access to the flash, timer, exposure control, and macro controls. Below the four-way multi selector button, you’ll find the Menu button and delete button.

On the underside of the L100, you’ll find a standard tripod socket as well as the battery chamber and memory card slot. A single door provides access to the battery chamber and memory card slot. When this door is opened, there is nothing holding the batteries in place, so if you happen to tilt the camera when changing a memory card, the batteries could fall out. The L100 has approximately 44MB of internal memory, which is helpful if you want to capture a few pictures and don't have a memory card on hand, but you’ll definitely want a separate card for serious shooting.

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